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PALLIATIVE CARE – Providing Comfort for People with Serious or Life-Threatening Illnesses

Palliative care is focused on providing comfort and relieving symptoms and stress of chronic illness, rather than curing the disease. Although palliative care is often associated with cancer or Hospice, patients with chronic, progressive pulmonary disorders, renal disease, chronic heart failure, and progressive neurological conditions, as well as children with serious illness, can also benefit.

We work together with patients, their caregivers and the healthcare team to improve each patient’s quality of life by providing solutions for the following problems:

Nausea & Vomiting may be caused by the disease or by the treatment, such as chemotherapy. When a patient is unable to swallow or “keep down” medication, we can compound the needed drugs into transdermal dosage forms such as topical gels and creams or rectal suppositories.

Mucositis – one of the most agonizing side effects of certain types of chemotherapy is mucositis, which is a painful inflammation or ulceration of the lining of the GI tract, anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Patients with mucositis are often unable to eat. Reduction of caloric intake can lead to weight loss, loss in muscle mass strength and other complications, including a decrease in immunity. Our compounding pharmacist can prepare oral gels and rinses – and even lollipops – to decrease the pain and speed the healing of mucosal lesions. Also, for patients who are receiving bone marrow transplants, we can compound preparations containing glutamine, which has been shown to decrease the risk of developing mucositis.

Oral Thrush is a fungal infection that commonly occurs in the mouth of patients who are immunosuppressed. We can prepare pain relievers and antifungals in the form of lozenges, suspensions, and lollipops to increase the contact time between the medication and the mouth, and help with the healing process.

Xerostomia (dry mouth) may occur as a result of radiation therapy to the head or neck, or as the result of conditions such as Sjögren’s disease. We can compound medications to help stimulate saliva flow.

– Chronic pain may be intermittent or continuous, and it prevents many people from working, eating properly, participating in physical activity or enjoying life. Cancer is a major cause of both acute and chronic pain. Most people with cancer will experience pain at some point during their course of treatment, and some will continue to have pain after the treatment ends.

The key to successful pain management is managing the pain to improve the function and quality of the life of the person living with pain. Our compounding pharmacist works together with patients and their healthcare provider to customize medications that meet the specific needs of each individual. Often, the need for or dose of opioids can be reduced when used in combination with other medications with different mechanisms of action.

Decubitus Ulcers/Wound Care – We can customize topical medications containing a variety of drugs to promote healing, fight infection, and improve blood flow to wound margins, as well as preparations that form a barrier to protect against bile salts and stomach acid and prevent irritation around stomas. Ask us about hypoallergenic bases.

Flavored Oral Medications – Taste changes can occur as a consequence of chronic disease. We can flavor oral medications according to each patient’s preference.

When needed medications are not commercially available, our compounding professionals can help. We can prepare customized medications in the most appropriate dose and dosage form for each patient. By changing the route of administration, for example from intravenous to transdermal, we can eliminate the need for injections. Please contact our pharmacist for more information.